For the Law of the Powerful over the Weak

February 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

Gunfire, torture until death, rape on a mass scale, artillery, aerial bombardment, targetting of hospitals, bakeries and petrol lines, and now scud missiles. A boy in Aleppo describes the effects of the latter.

A legend in inception

February 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

Here’s a wonderful 21 year old recording of Rage Against the Machine. By the end of the decade they were already a legend, and retired. Tom Morello, the guitarist, has since founded Audioslave, which became a rock legend in its own right, and Nightwatchman, his solo act. But two decades on, political art has yet to be bettered.

Royal Bodies

February 20, 2013 § 1 Comment

Here’s the lecture by two-time Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel that’s causing all the controversy. For the full text, visit London Review of Books.

Seize the Time: The Eighth Defendant

February 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

Black Panther founder Bobby Seale is raising money for a biographical film which will tell the story of his life, the Panthers, and the wider anti-racism struggle in America in the 60s and 70s. It sounds like a very worthwhile project. Full details, and how to donate, can be found here.

Syria’s Peace: What, How, When?

February 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

Fawaz Gerges and Rosemary Hollis in conversation with Pulse editor Robin Yassin-Kassab.

Going Against The Grain

February 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

Al Jazeera World on the great Gideon Levy.

Gideon Levy is someone who evokes strong emotions from fellow Israelis. The writer and journalist has made weekly visits, over the past three decades, to the occupied Palestinian territories, describing what he sees – plainly and without propaganda. For some Israelis, he is seen as a brave disseminator of the truth. But many others condemn him as a propagandist for Hamas. And his columns for the Tel Aviv-based Haaretz newspaper have made him, arguably, one of the most hated men in Israel. Going Against The Grain follows Gideon Levy on one of his assignments in Hebron, and meets some of the ordinary Palestinians whose lives he has described in his regular column for Haaretz.

Saturday Night Live does the Hagel Hearings

February 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

For some reason, SNL did not broadcast this.

Upheaval in Souls, Bodies, Imaginations

February 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Christopher Lydon of the wonderful Radio Open Source interview joins the great Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury for a stimulating discussion on art, politics and literature.

CAIRO — Elias Khoury is the sort of novelist we rely on to tell us what is going on. Himself of Lebanese and Christian antecedents, he wrote Gate of the Sun (1998), a stylized and much-admired fictional account of the Palestinian naqbah or “catastrophe” from 1948 to the infamous Sabra and Shatillah massacres in Lebanon in 1982. Writing, he remarks, is his means of discovering his ignorance and overcoming it.

Activist Trip to Liberated Syria

February 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

Highlights from the trip  organized by SAC, where a group of young activists visited parts of liberated Syria in December 2012 to deliver aid and form relationships with civilian activists on the ground.

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Negotiations?

February 3, 2013 § 2 Comments

We Will Not Die We Will Remain Here by Wissam al-Jazairy

We Will Not Die We Will Remain Here by Wissam al-Jazairy

This was published at The National.

On January19th  Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moallem gave an apparently conciliatory interview to state TV. “I tell the young men who carried arms to change and reform, take part in the dialogue for a new Syria and you will be a partner in building it. Why carry arms?” In the southern and eastern suburbs of Damascus his voice was drowned out by the continuing roar of the regime’s rocket, artillery and air strikes.

The UN and parts of the media have also called for negotiations. Until late January this year, however, the Syrian National Coalition – the widely-recognised opposition umbrella group – opposed the notion absolutely. But then SNC leader Moaz al-Khatib announced that he would talk directly to regime representatives (not Bashaar al-Assad himself) on condition that the regime releases 160, 000 detainees and renews the expired passports of exiled Syrians.

In the context of Moallem’s media offensive (and in the absence of concerted international financial or military support for either the SNC or the revolutionary militias) al-Khatib’s announcement calls the regime’s bluff. It doesn’t, of course, mean that negotiations are about to be launched. For a start, the regime only intends to negotiate with, as it puts it, those “who have not betrayed Syria”. Like successive Israeli regimes, it will only talk with the ‘opposition’ it chooses to recognise. This includes, as well as pro-regime people posing as oppositionists, Haytham Manaa’s National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, a group which has no influence whatsoever on the revolutionary fighters setting the agenda. The SNC – which does have some influence on the ground, and would have far more if it were sufficiently funded – is definitely not invited.

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